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2016 Report

Our 2016 Report is now available from the Observatory for £8.00 plus P&P if needed. Please contact the Warden: dungenessobs@vfast.co.uk

31st May

After the various excitements of the last few days there was not a great deal to report today. A small passage offshore included 177 Common Scoters, 13 Sanderlings and six Mediterranean Gulls but there were no obvious migrants on the land. There was no sign of the Rose-coloured Starling.

Ten Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore. 

Elsewhere, there was also no sign of the Great Reed Warbler at ARC.

30th May

Singles of Spotted Flycatcher, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler were the only new migrants in the area. The Rose-coloured Starling continued to give excellent views at the top of the estate. Please remember to respect the householders and their gardens when looking for this bird.




Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus   Dungeness   30th May 2018
Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Elsewhere, the highlight of the day was a remarkably showy Great Reed Warbler seen from the Hanson Hide on the ARC Pit although it was actually first seen the night before.





Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceous   Hanson  Hide, ARC Pit    30th May 2018
Three videos showing the bird singing can be viewed here and here and here.

29th May

The Rose-coloured Starling was still present but fairly elusive at times in the trapping area this morning but by the evening appeared to have moved out and joined a local flock of Starlings. After a wet night/early morning there was very little to report in the way of common migrants.



Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus   Dungeness   29th May 2018

28th May

What seemed like a quiet morning began with just three Spotted Flycatchers of note but these were soon eclipsed by a superb adult Rose-coloured Starling. It was first seen on overhead cables at West Beach but quickly moved into the trapping area where it then stayed for much of the day. A party of five Mediterranean Gulls also flew overhead.



Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus   Dungeness   28th May 2018
The fourth Observatory record.
Eight Porpoises were seen feeding offshore.

A Red-eared Terrapin was found dead on the road at the north end of the recording area.

Elsewhere today, most of the interest was in the moths trapped overnight. Dorothy Beck caught a Pretty Marbled and a Dew Moth at Lydd-on-sea and Barry Banson caught an example of the very rare pyralid Paracorsia repandalis and also a Flame Wainscot at Greatstone.
Paracorsia repandalis   Greatstone   28th May 2018
The eighth Brtish record.
Pretty Marbled Deltote deceptoria   Lydd-on-sea   28th May 2018
Only the third British record since 1986.

27th May

The sea improved a bit today with the early morning watch producing an Arctic Skua, 328 Common Terns and 14 Black Terns passing through and followed in the evening by a Shag, four Mediterranean Gulls and two Little Terns.  
A Serin flying around the New Lighthouse for a while was the highlight of an otherwise very quiet day on the land.

At least 17 Porpoises and two Grey Seals were seen offshore.

With the warm and sunny weather there were plenty of butterflies on the wing with five Grizzled Skippers, 28 Brown Argus and 140 Common Blues of note.
Brown Argus Lycaena phlaes   Dungeness   27th May 2018
There were also large numbers of dragonflies to be seen with the first two Black-tailed Skimmers of the year being seen and some spectacular gatherings of Four-spotted Chasers in the reed bed.
Four-spotted Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata   Dungeness   27th May 2018
A Dutch Iris was found flowering again at the Long Pits having been added to the area list as recently as 2016. 
Dutch Iris Iris hollandica   Long Pits   27th May 2018

26th May

Very quiet with even the offshore tern passage reduced to a trickle. One Manx Shearwater and a Little Tern were the best the sea could offer while there was barely a new migrant on the land.

Two Porpoises were seen offshore.

Grizzled Skippers continue to be seen along with good numbers of Brown Argus.

25th May

With overnight rain and calm conditions in the morning there was a nice little arrival of migrants with 13 Spotted Flycatchers and six (new) Reed Warblers of note and more rarities in the form of another flying west over the observatory at 0830hrs and a Nightjar heard briefly during the morning and again at dusk.
The tern movement also continued offshore with another 1010 Common Terns through in three hours of watching along with a Manx Shearwater, an Avocet, 30 Dunlin, a Little Gull and eight Little Terns.

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata   RSPB Reserve    25th May 2018
At least ten Porpoises were feeding offshore.

24th May

With flat calm conditions the sea continues to surprise with yet another steady easterly movement of terns involving an excellent 104 Black Terns and 1630 Common Terns along with five Grey Plovers, 48 Sanderlings, eight Redshank and two Arctic Skuas. The highlight though was a superb adult Long-tailed Skua which flew in from the south towards the Patch at 1700hrs, had a go at a Sandwich Tern and then seemed to drift off westwards before returning and going on through at 1755hrs. (It was subsequently tracked right along the Kent coast as far as Kingsdown at 2005hrs). 

The almost total dearth of passage migrants on the land continues despite what appeared to be more conducive conditions for an arrival of birds. 

At least 23 Porpoises and two Grey Seals were feeding offshore.

23rd May

Another day lacking in any common migrants but with a remarkable 20 minute spell in mid-morning when a Bee-eater, a Honey Buzzard, two Red Kites and a Common Buzzard all flew over the Observatory. The Bee-eater was then relocated on overhead cables at the north end of the recording area on a couple of occasions during the day.
There was very little movement offshore with just a trickle of Common Terns passing by and eight Black Terns, a Little Gull and a Mediterranean Gull feeding at the Patch.

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus   Dungeness   23rd May 2018




Red Kite Milvus milvus   Dungeness   23rd May 2018

Nine Porpoises were seen offshore.

Eleswhere and late in the day, a/the Bee-eater was found at Littlestone where it went to roost in some trees alongside Station Approach. 

22nd May

Another odd day at Dungeness. Barely a migrant to be seen on the land with just a Spotted Flycatcher in the trapping area, a Reed Warbler in the moat and 75 Swallows and three Yellow Wagtails overhead but two notable birds in the form of a Red Kite around mid-day and another all-to-brief Bee-eater which flew south at 1555hrs but was typically seen by just one observer.

The sea continues to provide some interest despite the late date with Common Terns still moving through in large numbers and also six Manx Shearwaters, a Pomarine Skua, five Mediterranean Gulls and 20 Black Terns of note.

A Common Seal, two Grey Seals and around 20 Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Several Brown Argus and Grizzled Skippers were seen. 

21st May

The early morning seemed very quiet but plenty of looking around the Point eventually produced a Grey Plover, a Greenshank, two Hobbies, two Garden Warblers and eight Corn Buntings of note. 
However, there was a surprisingly good seawatch from mid-morning which produced a Shag, seven Pomarine Skuas and 87 Black Terns along with 180 Common Scoter, 69 Sanderling, a Redshank, 17 Mediterranean Gulls and over 2200 "Commic" Terns. A Red-breasted Merganser also flew west.

At least 40 Porpoises were feeding offshore with a Grey Seal in close attendance but was not seen to get too involved with them.


20th May

There was another very small arrival of migrants on the land with five new Chiffchaffs ringed as well as a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits, a Sedge Warbler trapped in the moat  and a Spotted Flycatcher in the Lighthouse Garden.

Six Porpoises were feeding offshore.

Several Grizzled Skippers and Brown Argus butterflies were seen in the afternoon once the sun came out.

Elsewhere, another good bird appeared on the RSPB Reserve with a Kentish Plover seen from Dennis's Hide for much of the day. The last Dungeness record was on 17th April 2005. The Hoopoe was seen on several occasions during the day and the Bee-eater was seen at ARC for a while in the morning before it flew off.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus   RSPB Reserve   20th May 2018
Very oor distant shots but the best I could do.

19th May

Yet another quiet morning in the Observatory recording area with just ten Whimbrel and a trickle of Common Terns east offshore and a very small arrival of Chiffchaffs and a Whinchat on the land and eight Buzzards and four Hobby overhead.
(Late news concerns a party of three Pomarine Skuas this afternoon).

Twenty Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.


Most of the interest was elsewhere on the Point with the Hoopoe showing well again at times along Dengemarsh Road (usually just south of Springfield Bridge) and a Bee-eater which was seen briefly in the morning at Dengemarsh and then presumably relocated at the  ARC Pit in the evening which it showed very well for a time.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster   ARC   19th May 2018 

18th May

Very quiet on both land and sea. An Arctic Skua and four Mediterranean Gulls were feeding offshore and three Garden Warblers were singing at the Long Pits.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

Six Grizzled Skippers and five Brown Argus were of note among the butterflies seen.

Elsewhere, a Hoopoe was initially found at Galloways Road on the Ranges and later relocated feeding along the edge of Dengemarsh Road.
Hoopoe Upupa epops   Dengemarsh Road   18th May 2018
For those visiting Dungeness in the next few days the Screen Hide on the ARC Pit is well worth a visit as up to three Bitterns have been showing very well there at times.


Bittern Botaurus stellaris   Screen Hide, ARC Pit   17th May 2018

17h May

Two Manx Shearwaters, 31 Whimbrel, four Great Skuas, a Pomarine Skua, seven Arctic Skuas and seven Mediterranean Gulls all flew west during the day.
Very quiet on the land with just a Grey Wagtail of interest.

Five Porpoises and a Grey Seal were seen offshore.

It was a decent day for butterflies with four Grizzled Skippers and three Brown Argus being the highlights and the hoverfly Xanthogramma citrofasciatum was also seen.
Xantogramma citrofasciatum   Dungeness   17th May 2018
Some time was also spent looking for some of the scarcer flowers growing on the Point with Clustered Clover being one of the best finds.


Clustered Clover Trifolium glomeratum   Dungeness   17th May 2018    

16th May

Very quiet in a cold, strong northerly wind. Two Little Gulls, six Mediterranean Gulls and the hybrid Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull were feeding at the Patch whilst two Manx Shearwaters and two Arctic Skuas passed through. Very little to report on the land other than a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits. 

Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull   adult   hybrid   Dungeness   16th May 2018

At least five Porpoises were feeding offshore.

15th May

Three Spotted Flycatchers in the bushes and a Black Tern at the Patch were about the only migrants of note. A first-winter Mediterranean Gull and an adult hybrid Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull were also feeding at the Patch.

Four Porpoise and a Grey Seal were feeding offshore.

An improvement in the weather saw lots of butterflies on the wing with an Orange Tip at the Long Pits, ten Grizzled Skippers, five Brown Argus and at least 250 Small Coppers seen and including this rare variant form radiata.

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas var radiata   Dungeness   15th May 2016  


14th May

After a calm but cold start to the day the wind rapidly freshened from the NE. There was little sign of any migration with just a Garden Warbler and a Tree Pipit of note on the land and nothing much to report from the sea except for two Hobbies arriving.

The first Bishop's Mitre Shield-bug Aelia acuminata of the spring was found and six Grizzled Skippers were seen in the sheltered parts of the trapping area.

13th May

There was a very small arrival of migrants on the land today which included a Common Sandpiper on the Long Pits, our first Spotted Flycatcher of the year, two Garden Warblers, a female Redstart in the Lighthouse Garden, a Whinchat and best of all, a female Red-backed Shrike on the east side of the Long Pits.

One of our pairs of Stonechats had recently fledged young in tow.

Seawatching was generally slow for numbers but after five hours did produce two Manx Shearwaters, five Pomarine Skuas, two Arctic Skuas and two Great Skuas


Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio   female   Dungenesss   13th May 2018




Stonechat Saxicola torquatus   Dungeness   13th May 2018
Male, female and very new fledgling.
The male (at least) would appear to be of the race rubicola.
At least six Porpoises were feeding offshore.